It is the combination of sentiment, silliness and charm that makes Red Dog a warm and amusing film. Kriv Stenders film is a little offbeat, although this is entirely necessary given the premise of the film.
A truck driver stops off at the small town of Dampier, in Western Australia. When Thomas enters the bar, he sees several men standing over the body of an ailing dog. The publican, Jack Collins, begins to tell Thomas the story of Red Dog, a legend in Dampier…
Based on Louis de Bernières’ novel of the real life dog, Red Dog is a tale of community in a remote place. The story is rather slight, concentrating on the various people that the dog encountered on his travels. What retains the attention is the amusing bunch of characters that populate the film.
Much of the success of the film relies on the adorability of the dog. Luckily Koko holds his own, with a portrayal that is cute without playing up the the cameras. Despite the fact that the central character is a canine, Red Dog appears to be aimed at adults rather than children. The film is rated PG, and is suitable for all in terms of content. However, the overall themes are more suggestive of an adult-orientated picture. Red Dog encompasses relationships, love, and loss in a adult way. Although these themes are also applicable to younger viewers, the overall feeling is that the film is aimed at a mature audience.
Josh Lucas offers a good performance as American John Grant. Lucas is supported by a strong cast, including Rohan Nichol and Rachael Taylor. Keisha Castle-Hughes’ high billing is surprising, considering how small her role is.
Some may find Red Dog cloying in its sentiment. Most should be charmed by the film’s humour and sweet nature.